Vol. 17, No. 1 Spring 2003
Empowering the Masses through Libraries!
by Elizabeth Dehne
I've worked in libraries for many years. My undergraduate career was spent in the library, not only studying but
working as a student worker to help pay for tuition. By working in this environment. I learned some "secrets" of
research given to me by the reference librarians and used them for academic gain.
I enjoyed my time at the library. There is something about being around so much information and understanding how to
unlock its potential that empowered me. Later, I worked in a public library where the information sought was different
in nature, but with each experience with a patron, I learned something new. I realized that, as a librarian, I am able
to continue in my thirst for education and knowledge. With each experience I learn more and thus I become a better
librarian and overall person. Upon graduation of university, I decided that I would become a Librarian! I have been
accepted to the SLIS program at Indiana University, Bloomington and expect to begin classes Summer or Fall of 2003.
As a librarian, I feel that I hold a great responsibility to the people I serve, to provide access to unbiased and
thorough information to anyone who desires it. I am a representative of free speech, and of freedom in general.
Anyone, of any race, religion or social status can walk into a library and search for anything that is of interest to
What is so unique about Libraries are the many varieties that exist in this country alone. For example, in a
university setting, a library is the center of academia. Groups meet in study rooms to work on projects, students find
sanctuary among the silent stacks to study for a test or read a favorite book. Most importantly, faculty, students and
the general public surrounding the university, search for books, journal articles and other reference materials to aid
them further their education, or to educate others.
A public library does just the same, only on a more communal level,
meaning, the public library is a large part of the community that supports it. Parents check out books to read to
their children, students find books for projects, business enthusiasts search for the latest stock quotes, travelers
check out books on tape to make their journey more enriching, the possibilities are endless. I believe that Libraries
are the center of community, family and the individual.
Libraries empower people with the weapon of literacy and education. I find this philosophy and environment to be
very stimulating and exciting. However, there are many issues to take into consideration as a librarian that will
ensure the legitimacy of libraries in the future. It is very important to make sure the general philosophy stays the
same, but at the same time nurture evolution along with technological advancements.
"The new digital technologies are eliding the boundaries that used to exist between text and video, between school and
society between physical and virtual space. As they do, they also elide the lines we have drawn between student and
teacher, learner and mentor and in the case of schools between teacher and librarian."
Information Literacy: the
changing library by: Kapitzke, Cushla, Journal of Adolecent & Adult Literacy, Feb 2001 v.44:5 p.1
This is a good example highlighting the basic need to for understanding and promoting technological advancements within
My career goals are, primarily, to get a good education and remain up to date on the multitudes of technological
advances. Information access will rely more and more on the computer, electronic databases etc. Paradoxically, as a
librarian, I understand the importance of the written word inside the pages of a book. Not only must I understand how
to preserve these treasures of information, I must also know which books in print will provide a positive addition to
the Library's collection.
Being a Librarian is all encompassing, including the technical, and physical aspects of
information literacy. However, working with people is another skill that I must constantly strengthen as a Librarian.
It is possible that I might have several employees for whom I am responsible for supervision. I must find the balance
of management in order to pull the best out of every employee in order to create an environment conducive to learning,
for both patrons and the employees. I understand that I must instill the philosophy of Libraries within these
individuals and make the library and exciting and enjoyable place to work.
Creating relationships with patrons is on
the other end of the spectrum of personal relations, compared to management, but is the most important aspect for the
success of a Library. It is necessary for me as a Librarian to understand the importance of service to these patrons,
whether they are professors, students, civic leaders or citizens of a community. I am responsible for providing
instruction on how to use the Library's resources in order to facilitate their research needs. This could include
bibliographic instruction in a university setting, or simply sitting with a patron at a computer, teaching them how to
look up a favorite book. This personal aspect of the profession is what drew me initially, because I am curious about
everything, including people. As a member of the community, more specifically, a librarian, I use my natural curiosity
to experience community events and bring the library ethic into the community circle. Libraries are living and
breathing entities, the librarians within its walls should be as well. No longer is the stereotype of an old,
shriveled woman behind a desk saying "SHHHH!" at every noise!
I admire the business of libraries; which is much
different than what is expected from the corporate level, which is to make money. The business of Libraries is to help
people become more well rounded and educated so they can be the best at what they pursue and enjoy the life they have.
As an International Affairs major, I learned about many less fortunate countries, with hardly any freedoms. No
libraries exist, much less sustainable housing. Many do not enjoy the rights of free speech, especially against the
governmental regime. I strongly feel the need for American citizens to become more educated about the world around
them, including their own government. Libraries provide that educational opportunity. I am overjoyed to encourage that
opportunity, using any and all means possible.
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